La Zi Ji Recipe

La Zi Ji
(AKA Chongqing Ji Rou)
Chicken with Charred Chiles
Submitted By: Taz

Ingredients:

Marinade:
1 Tbs Cornstarch (Yùmǐ diànfěn)
1 Tbs Light Soy Sauce (Jiàngyóu)
2 Tbs Shao Xing Rice Wine
1 Egg White (Dànbái)

Sauce:
4 tsp Cornstarch (Yùmǐ diànfěn)
4 Tbs Light Soy Sauce (Jiàngyóu)
1 Tbs Shao Xing Rice Wine
1 Tbs Toasted Sesame Oil (Zhīmayóu)
2 tsp Black Rice Vinegar (Zhenjiang)
4 tsp Sugar (Táng)
1-2 tsp Sichuan Peppercorns (Huājiāo) - coarsely ground

'Stir Fry':
1 lb Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs (Jītuǐ ròu) - cut into 1 inch cubes
10-12 Whole Dried Chinese Red Chiles (Gàn de hóng làjiāo)
5 cloves Fresh Garlic (Dàsuàn) - sliced
½ inch piece Fresh Ginger (Jiāng) - minced
1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts (Bíjì) - drained
2 Bunches Green Onions (Cōng) - light and dark green parts only sliced into 1 ½ inch pieces
1 ½ Cups Roasted/Unsalted Cashews (Yāoguǒ)
4 Tbs Peanut Oil (Huāshēngyóu) - can substitute canola, safflower, sunflower, or avocado oil
-OPTIONAL-
1 Tbs Sesame Seeds (Hēi zhīma)

Preparation:
  1. Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined - Add the chicken and toss to coat - Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes
  2. Whisk together 'sauce' ingredients in a small bowl until thoroughly combined - Set aside
  3. Add oil to a COLD wok over medium heat - Add the dried peppers and stir fry for 3-5 minutes
  4. Increase heat to high and continue to stir fry until peppers are slightly blackened and begin to smoke (DO NOT OVER 'BLACKEN' - over 'blackening' will cause peppers to become bitter)
  5. Drain the marinade from the chicken and add chicken to the wok - Stir fry for 1-2 minutes
  6. Add water chestnuts and continue to stir fry for an additional minute - Add ginger and garlic - Continue to stir fry until chicken is ¾ cooked through (apx 2 minutes)
  7. Add cashews and sesame seeds (if using) and combine - Add green onion and combine
  8. Add sauce mixture and reduce heat to low - Stir fry until sauce has thickened and everything is well coated (apx 2 minutes)
  9. Serve hot over rice
NOTES: This dish should be prepared outdoors OR under a good, strong kitchen hood - The whole dried red peppers are purposely cooked until 'blackened' flavoring the cooking oil - The resulting smoke is VERY pungent and can irritate the eyes and lungs!
Due to the salt in the soy sauce and the Shao Xing Rice Wine, there should be no need for additional salt

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